Poll – Mesut or Miki – You Decide

October 9, 2018

Ahead for Gunners is a very long International break, so here’s an easy conversation starter.

I’m offering one formation and one positional player option.

It’s a 4-2-3-1 and today the option is Mesut or Mkhi. Obviously you vote for one, but can then elaborate in comments i.e. Mesut only starts when the sun shines and it’s a Full Moon……………

POLL – Mesut or Mkhi – You decide?

mickydidit89

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Let’s get stuck into the Toffees

September 23, 2018

First off a tribute to Everton’s Dixie Dean the holder of the all time English top flight scoring record.

Dixie Dean’s Record 60 League Goals in 1927/28

When George Camsell scored 59 Football League goals for Middlesbrough in 1926/27 he must have believed that his record would last for years. It lasted just one season being bettered by William Ralph Dean – Dixie Dean. Not that it was easy, with two matches remaining he needed seven goals to beat the record. Four of them came against Burnley in the penultimate match and on Saturday 5th May 1927, 48,715 Everton fans were at Goodison to welcome the newly-crowned League champions and to see Dean get a hat-trick to take the record from Camsell. Arsenal opened the scoring after two minutes – Dean equalised a minute later. In the 6th minute Dean was fouled in the box and converted the penalty. The record equalled and plenty of time to beat it but it wasn’t until 8 minutes from the end when Alec Troup sent in a corner for Dean to head home the record-breaking 60th goal. (It should be noted that this was achieved in a 42 game season)

Dixie Dean remained at Goodison until the 1937/38 season having scored an amazing 349 goals in 399 League appearances. He died on 1st March 1980 at Goodison while attending Everton’s match against Liverpool.

Here are some more memorable moments in our games against Everton.

Everton 2-1 Arsenal – 19th October 2002

Rooney’s first league goal was certainly one to remember. The spectacular long-range strike ended Arsenal’s 30-game unbeaten run in the league and confirmed the 16-year-old was one for the future.

Arsenal 4-0 Everton – 3rd May 1998

The Gunners picked up their first Premier League trophy after demolishing Everton with two games to spare. A Slaven Bilic own goal got the ball rolling for Arsenal, and after a Marc Overmars double, captain Adams smashed home the fourth in emphatic style. The game and league title was already secured when Adams raced forward in the 89th minute, but it was a seminal moment for the club captain in front of the Highbury faithful.

Arsenal 1-2 Everton – 20th Jan 1996

Everton’s first and only Premier League win at Arsenal came more than 22 years ago. Ian Wright had set the Gunners on their way to victory, but Graham Stuart levelled matters before Andrei Kanchelskis netted an 83rd-minute winner.

Arsenal 7-0 Everton – 11th May 2005

Dennis Bergkamp put on a magical display as the Gunners demolished Everton. The Dutchman assisted the first two for Robert Pires and Robin van Persie, while he got on the scoresheet himself with Arsenal’s sixth. It remains their biggest Premier League victory to date, having matched that scoreline one year later against Middlesbrough.

Arsenal 1-0 Everton – 10th December 2011

Van Persie is no stranger to scoring spectacular volleys. Efforts against Charlton Athletic, Liverpool and Aston Villa (the latter for Man Utd) come to mind, while this first-time strike against the Toffees sealed all three points for the Gunners following Alex Song’s delightful ball over the top.

Arsenal 4-1 – 21st April 2001

One of the more bizarre moments in the Premier League’s history occurred when an angry Everton fan ran onto the Highbury pitch and offered his shirt in exchange for Alex Nyarko’s royal blue jersey. Nyarko asked to be substituted immediately and went on to quit football, though the midfielder reversed his decision a few days later and joined Monaco on loan.

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

Everton are one of only 6 clubs who have remained in the Premier League since its inception in 1992/93 – the others being Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham.

After losing our opening 2 games of the season we have now won 4 on the trot, 3 EPL and 1 Europa League. Overall we scored an average of 2.33 goals per game, however our defence still leaves a lot to be desired as we have not kept a clean sheet this season and our goals against average is a poor 1.83.

Our EPL home record against Everton is very positive; in fact (without checking) it may be our best against any EPL club. Only staunch Everton supporters would put money on Arsenal getting anything other than 3 points on Sunday.

Team News

It would appear that Lucas Torreira and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are both doubts for the match.

Possible team

Written by GunnerN5


4-3-3 …. Who plays in the front three?

August 31, 2018

Having sorted out our right flank issues on Tuesday plus deciding who should partner Lucas Torreira on Wednesday, it’s time to shift our attention to the business end of the team and the front three.

When you’re taking half chances and scoring at crucial moments in a game, victories look easy. If the boys at the sharp end are misfiring, as against the chavs 2 weeks ago, it doesn’t matter how many golden opportunities are created, you’ll always struggle.

Unai Emery is still moulding the Arsenal players into new shapes but he does seem to favour 4-3-3 (or 4-2-1-3). The front three are a little undefined as yet. Let’s take a look at the runners and riders.

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang – yet to break his duck early on this season after scoring for fun during Arsenal’s tepid second half of last season. Has a career average of about a goal every other game and was prolific for Dortmund. Our most versatile out and out striker which is probably why he gets pushed out to the left flank to accommodate Alexandre Lacazette.

courtesy GK Edits

Alexandre Lacazette – only slightly lower strike rate across his career than Auba, scoring at just under a goal in every two. Perhaps our most natural finisher. He doesn’t seem to score many tap-ins for Arsenal which either says something about the type of chances created by his teammates or about his natural positioning as a striker. Seems to enjoy bouncing off Auba, though maybe the pair are better suited to playing together in a 4-4-2?

Danny Welbeck – Danny appears to be 3rd in the pecking order of strikers, though his physicality could make him an enticing prospect as a powerful left sided attacker. Gets into great scoring positions but often seems to lack that killer instinct in front of the posts. It would appear that when everyone else is fit, he is destined to be our best hope of a goal from the bench, Lord Bendtner style.

Alex Iwobi – a starter against the chavs and hammers, Alex is the go-to player for left side wing duties when Auba is chosen at centre forward. This is probably due to his natural ability to take players on. Bit of a marmite player with some choosing to dismiss him outright.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – His high work rate and creativity up front seem to have made him one of the first names on Emery’s teamsheet. Expecting him to be constantly helping wingfender Bellerin with defensive duties is too much of an ask. I keep expecting his goals and assists figures to explode once the manager settles on a final plan of attack. Could he play as the tip of a midfield triangle?

Mesut Özil – Mesut doesn’t appear to have found a conclusive position in Unai’s team structure as yet. He seems the man most likely to create a goal-scoring chance with just one pass that we possess. Does he play left side in a front three or the furthest forward of the middle three? Answers on a postcard. I’d imagine he’s hankering for Arsene to appear and to tell him, ‘just play where you like while you dismantle the opposition’.

Aaron Ramsey – the Welsh Messi would also love the free role in any set up. He’s been used as part of a double pivot, as a box-to-boxer, as a number 10 and a right flanker up front. Like Mesut he’s another who doesn’t naturally fit into any particular slot in Unai Emery’s team structure wall chart. Reading LB’s Cardiff match report from November 2013 yesterday reminded us that Aaron has goals in him. Wouldn’t it be great if he could hit double figures again?

Of the other three who had fine pre-seasons, Reiss Nelson would appear to be off to Hoffenheim this week (hopefully just on loan) and Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah haven’t made the bench in our first three games.

Similarly to choosing a midfield partner for Lucas Torriera, there will always be an element of mix and match when selecting a front 3 depending on the opposition and if we’re home or away.

On paper an Auba, Laca and Micki combination looks to have the most goals in it. Alexandre hasn’t been chosen to start a 90 minutes up to now and if he was chosen, would it mean Auba moving out to the left wing? Choosing a front three might be based on other factors in addition to goals such as team balance, the fabled high press and workrate. It’ll be interesting to see if Mesut can find a natural slot in the new manager’s plans, perhaps starting on that left side but then dropping into more of a number 10 role at times.

It was only a few weeks ago in pre-season that we were talking about an embarrassment of riches up front but we know it will take time for the new boss to find the right blend.

I’m really looking forward to everything clicking into place soon and for the goals to start raining in – as, I’m sure, are we all.

Thoughts? Who  would you have in our front three?

chas

 


The Catalyst that Sparks the Revolution?

July 30, 2018

LB wonders what it is that’s different in the air. My observations, amateurish though they be, can be summarised in three words. Pierre. Emerick. Aubameyang.

He never EVER stops smiling. And if you look at training vids/photos, publicity moments like the new kit launch, or even match time, Mesut seems to have taken a real shine to him.

I think he’s going to turn out to be a phenomenal signing, not just for his goals, and general play, but for his esprit de corps (a while back I posited a theory about Wenger’s handover: well here’s another one – the arrival of Mkhitaryan, PEA and Sokratis, all from BD, almost at once is no coincidence). And I agree furthermore with FGG. Bring on the Golden Boot!

Will the Sanchez/Mkhitaryan player swap plus subsequent signing of Auba turn out to be one of the most significant pieces of transfer business ever done by the Club?  Only time will tell but let’s pray to Dennis it is! (ed)

Taken from a comment by Maxwell


An Embarrassment of Riches?

July 19, 2018

Apparently an Arsenal X1 beat Crawley Town 9-0 yesterday in a behind closed doors game at Colney.

Bernd Leno made a first appearance between the sticks and plenty of other first teamers dusted off their boots to grab some playing time.

Lucas Perez and Laca bagged a brace each and Auba also got on the scoresheet.

                                                Courtesy AFC

Along with goals from Eddie, The Jeff, Reiss Nelson and Micki, it’s starting to look as though we have a very strong group of mobile attacking players to begin this season. 🙂


This Glorious Arsenal– Burnley Ratings

May 7, 2018

BR’s pre-match predicted the day’s path with Burnley facing both a glorious tsunami of emotion and wave upon wave of breathtaking Arsenal attacks. Could the joint third meanest defence in the league stand up to the onslaught? Would the finger in the Dyche prove capable of holding back the torrent? The wonderful sunshine at the Emirates was the perfect backdrop to the guard of honour, a farewell befitting the great man.

First Half

Early on Alex Iwobi jinked his way through like a slalom skier and we knew we were in for a treat. Auba’s first goal looked similar to umpteen goals he scored for Dortmund. Someone who anticipates a driven cross has been something we’ve lacked for ages – we don’t anymore. The assist from Lacazette was superb.

The ball fizzed down Burnley’s left flank time and again, Micki firing over before a Bellerin cut-back was smartly dispatched by Laca’s left foot volley.

Second Half

At the start of the second period, Vokes tamely headed the ball straight at Cech – this was the only Burnley chance I can remember; though copious pre-match libation may have something to do with that.

A spanking left foot piledriver from The Beast after superb work from Jack, got the second half properly underway. Fred’s favourite, Iwobi, soon followed up with the 4th goal from an Auba cross. The rout was complete with my favourite finish of the day, Auba diverting Hector’s cross past the keeper with a delicious outside of the foot touch.

As BR said yesterday, the 90 minutes in between honouring Arsenal’s greatest ever manager were always destined to be a sideshow, but what a glorious sideshow it was, wholly befitting a man who helped to transform and revolutionise both Arsenal’s football and football in England in general.

A pre-booked train meant that we could not stay for the after match festivities. I’ll have the chance to savour AW’s final Emirates moments later on today.

Thanks for being such a massive part of my life for so many years, Arsene.

Merci beaucoup.

Ratings

Cech – Almost a spectator he saw so little of the ball … 8

Bellerin – Loved the sunshine and provided two fine assists  … 9

Mavropanos – Another fine game, looks a big old unit with skill, class and composure … 8

Chambers – Looks to have found the quality that Arsenal shelled out for in the first place … 8

Kolasinac – Spanking goal, looked comfortable … 8

Wilshere – A vast improvement on recent form  … 9

Xhaka – In a game like this Granit looks perfectly at home to orchestrate the midfield  … 8

Iwobi – Revelled in the sunshine, corking goal too … 8

Mkhitaryan – great skill, passing and passion to drive forward, part of a new attacking golden triangle  … 9

Aubameyang – Two excellent goals, great wing play  … 9

Lacazette – Left footed peach and right footed assist, next season should be good … 9

Subs

Ramsey/Welbeck – both enjoyed their late arrival to the party – 8

Mertesacker – even in his short time at the club he’s proved to be a true Arsenal man and got the send off as a player he deserves – 9

Big Weng – Thanks man – 10

Summary

Just the most perfect day up The Arsenal.

chas

 


Truly, Ugly, Deeney – Watford Ratings

March 12, 2018

Troy Deeney being fit to play (when I say fit, I mean breathing and able to walk as long as it’s not uphill and too fast) was the best news this game could have had. With Watford in the relative safety of mid-table obscurity and ourselves being so far off the title pace, meant that there was little to play for except a few points and some comparisons of testes size. Deeney was the vital ingredient in the latter and he didn’t disappoint.

 First Half

Shkodran scoring a carbon copy of his goal against the spuds after 8 minutes calmed any supporter fears that Watford might spawn a couple of early goals as they did at the Emirates last season. It was a perfect delivery from Mesut with which he smashed Cantona’s first to 50 assists record. How the first half finished 1-0 is anybody’s guess. There really were some great chances. 4-2 was Ant and mine’s assessment of the possible goal score.

Amongst our better chances, Auba missed a one on one right at the start of the game, The Beast battered one across the penalty area so quickly that Auba could only get a toe on it and then Mesut got into a magnificent position with a glorious first touch only to lose his composure with the keeper floundering on the deck. Pereyra missed Watford’s best chance skying over after Petr had ended up behind his goal line blocking a free kick.

Second half

The cones did not do their job at the start of the second half. The Arsenal crowd and players all looked as though they wished they could be at home (along with the many who didn’t bother attend). Watford, on the other hand, had their best spell, pressing Arsenal back towards the Clock but without giving us too many heart flutters.

Our first attack of note in the second period resulted in the BVB connection putting us two up. Micki slipped the ball through to Auba with perfect weight, stranding the keeper in no man’s land.

Then came the moments everyone had come to see. A Watford striker went over Maitland-Niles’ knee (in live time it looked to me as if our young Tory had got himself in a position to field a cricket ball rather than make a tackle) and the ref had no option but to give a pen. The pantomime villain stepped up to take the kick, only to allow Cech to make a one handed block which went away from the goal rather than back towards fatty. Cue wild celebrations – it was just like scoring a goal. Two one and things could have gone tits up quickly, but with a two goal lead we were still cruising. Great fun.

Conceding and then saving the penalty woke up both the crowd and the team. We looked comfortable from that moment onward, even with Calum having to deputise for Shkod. The third goal came with a quarter of an hour to go when Micki and Auba reversed roles allowing the Armenian to notch another Arsenal goal so quickly after his crucial effort against Milan. The Emirates crowd even produced a little volume, asking Mr Deeney if he knew what the score was. To his credit, he did seem to be smiling, the hideous gargoyle.

Ratings

(Ratings are always subjective and always likely to be swayed by confirmation bias. Some like them, others don’t – perhaps it’s worth remembering that they’re there to give you something to bounce off.)

Cech – A save from a penalty against our Troy, no flapping and 200 clean sheets, lovely … 9

Maitland-Niles – a few sloppy passes didn’t detract from a quality performance, defended well with both interceptions and tackles, while looking smooth with the ball at his feet  … 7

Mustafi – Excellent early header, drove the defence and looked more like the leader he could be. Hope his groin isn’t too sore this morning  …7

Holding – All of our defenders struggle against the high press when the rest of the team do not give enough options for a pass, Rob was no exception. Made some fine tackles and blocks, and was even making better decisions about when to just get rid, TA6 style as the game progressed  … 7

Kolasinac – Improving as an Arsenal player, whether that’s partly down to the standard of opposition or down to eating less fish and chips, we’ll find out later  … 7

Elneny – Had a fine game in the centre. Chosen to start alongside Xhaka we might have thought that the midfield would look a bit static and lacking forward drive, but Mo provided plenty of thrust and no small measure of forward attacking passes, too … 8

Xhaka – Granit’s form is improving game by game, his defensive positioning is better and I still love his left foot  … 7

Ozil – No subjective rating is ever possible for Mesut, he oozes class and the number of goals and great chances he creates is testament to that  … 8

Mkhitaryan – Looking more like an Arsenal player with each game, should have had a penalty which Atkinson (Fifa referee, yeah right) chose to ignore to add to his goal and assist … 8

Iwobi – Watching Alex from the upper tier, you can see that he’s seeing great passes all the time, it’s just that, at the moment, his execution is lacking somewhat. It’ll come, keep working hard BIG17  – 6

Aubameyang – Settling in nicely, once he gets his razor-sharp finishing back up to scratch, his partnerships with Mesut and Micky could be most productive  – 7

Subs – Chambers slotted in well, Danny produced a rasper and Jack came on for no good reason.

chas